Home Figure Skating News Catching up with Finland’s Orihara and Pirinen

Catching up with Finland’s Orihara and Pirinen

by Judith Dombrowski
Wilma Alberti

Yuka Orihara and Juho Pirinen

Finland’s Yuka Orihara and Juho Pirinen perform their Free Dance to “Chicago” at 2023 Nepela Memorial in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 30, 2023.

Yuka Orihara and Juho Pirinen

Yuka Orihara and Juho Pirinen, a dynamic duo from Finland who joined forces in 2019, have been garnering a well-deserved reputation as an up-and-coming entertaining ice dance team. Their 2022-23 free dance in particular, where Orihara portrayed a seductive siren captivating her partner, received an overwhelmingly positive response.

In this interview, we delve into their creative journey, exploring how they crafted two brand-new routines while contending with the weight of expectations following their previous successful free dance. They reveal the inspiration behind their rhythm dance, choreographed to the melodies of Madonna, and their free dance, set to the iconic tunes from the musical Chicago, which they approached with a strikingly innovative perspective.

Additionally, we discuss the extravagant costumes, each meticulously handcrafted by Orihara’s mother.

Orihara and Pirinen opened their 2023-24 season with two respectable sixth place finishes in strong fields at the Challenger competitions in Bratislava and Espoo and will now prepare for their Grand Prix assignment at home in Finland. Due to the successful 22-23 season of their team- and training mates, Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis, who earned second quotas for Finland, they will be able to participate at their second European and first World Championships and are very excited for the possibility be part of these events.

Furthermore, we get to know the team more on a personal level as they reveal what they value in each other and what makes them such a good team. Orihara, who is Japanese but competed previously for Canada, speaks about her decision to move to Finland and talks about the challenges this brought for her. She also opens up about her connection to the current Japanese team and they speak about their experience participating in a Japanese Ice show for the first time during this off season.

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